15 Shade-Loving Plants That Are Made for a Tree-Lined Garden

There's a reason impatiens are so popular.

shade plants
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Just because a plant grows outside doesn't mean it thrives in intense, direct sunlight. Just ask these varieties, all of which prefer a shady spot next to the house or under a tree. If your yard is blessed with tons of coverage, these are the plants that'll do best in your flower beds.

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impatiens
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Impatiens

These annuals are one of the only plants that will put on a floral display in full shade. Impressive. But if you have sunny spot in mind in your yard, you can train impatiens to handle harsh light by increasing their exposure slowly over the course of a week.

More: 20 Indoor Plants That Are Easy to Keep Alive

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hosta
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Hostas

There are many kinds of hostas, all of which require some shade, but not the same amount. A good rule of thumb for gauging this: The darker the leaf (they vary from white to dark green), the less sun it needs.

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Heuchera
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Heuchera

If you want to add color to your garden, this perennial (also known as Coral Bells) produces burgundy leaves and flower spikes come spring to mid-summer. While it can tolerate the sun, the leaves will fade if they're exposed to too much.

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Oakleaf Hydrangeas
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Oakleaf Hydrangeas

This coarse-textured shrub produces large, dense clusters of flowers three seasons out of the year and can tolerate some morning sun or afternoon shade, but prefers to be out of the light as much as possible.

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Astilbe
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Astilbe

To ensure your garden is filled with the bright pink flower plumes this plant is famous for, plant it somewhere that receives light to moderate shade, as they will burn in the full sun — yikes.

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Ferns
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Ferns

There's a reason ferns are often found in moist, shady forests: Their favorite environment is where there's light shade provided by tree branches. These hardy plants can handle direct sunlight, but as a result will require more water.

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Hakonechloa
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Hakonechloa

Most grass prefers the sun, but this short, clump-forming variety looks best in partial shade — and you'll be able to tell if your location is too bright, as the more light the plant gets, the more yellow the leaves turn. Too much sun can cause burn marks.

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Bletilla
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Bletilla

This low-maintenance Chinese ground orchid is a stunning addition to any garden, just make sure you protect your buds from the harsh afternoon sun if you want them to look their best.

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Dead nettle
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Dead Nettle

If coverage is your main concern, this low spreading plant with silver, purple, and pink blooms is a stunning option. It'll be easiest to care for if you plant it in a low-light area, as the more sun it gets, the more water it requires.

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Caladium
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Caladium

The big, colorful leaves are what make this plant so stunning, but if they're exposed to too much sunlight, holes or brown edges between the main veins might appear on leaves.

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Torenia
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Torenia

Just like many beach goers, this annual prefers morning sun and afternoon shade — and it'll reward you with a longer bloom period. Enough said.

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Foamflower
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Foamflower

If you want these delicate flowers to look their best on your plant, make sure they're located in partial to heavy shade, especially in southern zones. They can withstand a couple of hours of direct morning sun tops.

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Primula
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Primulas

Known as a more delicate species, primulas perform best in shade, with even and regular waterings, and in moderate to cool temperatures.

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Coleus
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Coleus

Make sure you coleus doesn't get direct midday sunlight, as overexposure to the sun will wash out leaf colors. Since these plants are a great way to add color to your garden, that would be shame.

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Lungwort
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Lungwort

This small purple flowering plant does best in full to partial shade. Pro tip: The leaves on most trees haven't appeared when this plant blooms in early spring, but it's safe to plant yours in a spot that will eventually be shaded during the harsh summer.

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